Slide 3 of 22
IT is becoming part of all areas of society. From your car taking directions from GPS satellite navigation systems to the terrific advances in personal computing technology in relation to speed and cost.
Legal question and problems are inevitable. Technology is developing rapidly while, typically, legislation lags behind. It’s often reactionary rather than preparatory and the lack of foresight is often quite obvious.
Because the US is so far ahead of us in the adoption of IT, their judicial system has considerably more experience of the area than ours. Therefore US court decisions are more influential than usual, in the absence of much real testing of IT related law over here. The EU is also taking a serious regulatory interest in the IT area, possibly under pressure to protect US commercial interests in Europe.
IT law treads on the toes of other more traditional areas: constitutional, criminal and civil law. It mingles with them all.
Quite a lot of legislation in this area in intentionally vague. Irish and UK law resisted defining a computer, fearing over reliance on the physical object. UK law had defined IT to include physical objects, programs, data and human skills.
There are computer-specific crimes such gaining unauthorized access to a system or releasing a virus. As IT integrates further it becomes used in more regular criminal activity, such as fraud and theft.